After becoming World Champion in three cycling disciplines in one year, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot had a very tough 2016 season. The 25-year old French rider summarised her feelings in a heartbreaking and heartrending open letter after a deep Rio Olympics deception.
“After that I started to train again. I wanted to race but only for pleasure, with no pressure. So I also changed the team joining Canyon//SRAM. It is also good because I have no pressure from them. I can also choose my calendar. For me it was very good because I needed to do not exactly what I wanted but what I think it was the best for me.” stated Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
The main problem she encountered throughout the previous season was that she couldn’t follow her plan. Injures and illnesses hit Pauline hard and as a result she was unable to follow her routine. That’s why Pauline wanted to comeback gradually, building her training base and her confidence one step at a time.
“The training was good and I started to race on the road with the spring classics. I felt quite good there, but I got sick after it. So, It was a bit shame. After it I decided to do more MTB racing, to train for the Worlds. Now, I feel I came back in shape. I am happy with that but I also know that the way is still long and I can tell that I also train for the next year, to get better and to learn from what it happened the last two years.” said the Canyon//SRAM rider.
Just at the end of last season, when most us believed the possibility of having a gap year was real, Pauline announced she had signed a five-year contract with Canyon//SRAM.
“After five years in Rabobank-Liv I felt it was the moment to leave the team. I wanted to see other things. Last year it was a hard season for me. So for Canyon//SRAM, it was not the ideal season to signed me. That’s why I am really thankful to the team. They really believed in me during the hard times.” said Ferrand-Prévot.
With Canyon//SRAM she has found the happiness and is getting back on track to one of the most awaited comebacks. “My best moment with the team was when I met the ladies at the training camp. I felt I had already been in this team for many years. They really accepted me and I felt very good, and that is the most important thing for me.” said Pauline.
La Course by Le Tour
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, who was on the start line in Briaçon of La Course by Le Tour believes ASO is a great chance for women’s cycling, as it helps to promote the sport.
“You can see yesterday, it was a big chance and a good opportunity to show women’s cycling. We can say it is really good for us. Tomorrow will be a very good one I think. There should be a lot of people as we start just before the men. We are very lucky and I think they are making a great improvement in our sport. But also it is only one step and I hope we can have more races in the future.” stated the French MTB champion.
After three editions ASO decided to change La Course by Le Tour format, switching the one-day criterium-alike for a two-leg race with a first stage tackling the Col d’Izoard and a second one under an innovative pursuit format in Marseille.
“I loved to race in Paris, it was mythical to race in the Champs-Élysées. But from a sport perspective it was a less interesting finale than yesterday’s race. I really loved yesterday’s race and I think it really captured how beautiful and strong women’s cycling is. For tomorrow, I think it is a good idea but they have to step it up in the future. It is good to try and we’ll see tomorrow after the race if it is good or not.”
“We need to have more interest from the media. If we have races sharing courses and happening just before the men’s ones it will be a good thing, as it could be a Paris-Roubaix or a Tour de France. This two races are just a good start but I think ASO can also do more, I hope they’ll do it in the future.” said Ferrand-Prévot.
For La Course, Canyon//SRAM together with its clothing partner Rapha, prepared a special collection named Women’s 100, an anual global event that tries to embrace women to ride their bikes. “Yesterday as we raced in France it was an important day for the team and for our sponsors. I think that’s why we had a new special kit. We all played a very good role in yesterday’s race and I think we all looked very good in our new races kits.”
Women’s cycling in France
Women’s cycling is encountering difficult times in France, as many races have disappeared from the international calendar throughout the past years.
“I am not happy with the situation in France. For the organisers it has always been hard in France, so I understand they wanted or they had to stop because of the money and/or the media coverage. It is strange as we now see more races in the Women’s World Tour. In France the situation seems a little more complicated. I don’t really know what exactly happened but I hope in future we can get back those races in France.” mentioned Pauline when asked her regarding the situation.
At the start of this season Pauline Ferrand-Prévot didn’t want to chase any particular goals, but to build up her form and training ahead of the 2018 season. However, Pauline looks forward to the rest of the 2017 season:
“I will do the MTB World Championships and the Road World Championships. I want to go on holidays after them. Then I will start training again and I want to do the end of the cyclocross season. It is nice to go back to it and also because I want to be strong for the classics.”
“I am already very motivated and really look forward to race the next season.”
Featured picture: ASO / Thomas MAHEUX